It’s about the victims, Fr. Alvaro

Over at Life After RC, Giselle posts a poignant reminder that this scandal is not about Fr. Maciel or the movement he founded. This scandal, and the strong emotions it fuels among ordinary people, is about Fr. Maciel’s victims. Especially since they were thrice-victimized: First through the sexual abuse they reportedly suffered. Second through the unjust persecution and tarnishing of their good name when they came forward with serious and substantial allegations. And third, through the Legion’s failure to apologize publicly to them when strong evidence of Fr. Maciel’s “double life” emerged in the media.
Which is why Giselle’s point is one we cannot forget. As new evidence surfaces about Fr. Maciel’s sexual exploits with young women, let us remember that Nuestro Padre’s first alleged victims were the young men who entrusted their spiritual formation to his care:

Rome/February 28, 1997
Mr. Clifford L. Teutsch
Managing Editor
The Hartford Courant
285 Broad Street
Hartford, CT 06115
Dear Mr. Teutsch,
Regarding the accusations made against me in the Hartford Courant of Sunday, February 23, I wish to state that in all cases they are defamations and falsities with no foundation whatsoever, since during the years these men were in the Legion never in any way did I commit those acts with them, nor did I make any such advances to them nor was the suggestion of such acts ever mentioned.
During the time that these men were in the Legion of Christ and even after they had left, I spared no sacrifice to help them as much as I could-as I have always done with every person the Lord has put under my care. I do not know what has led them to make these totally false accusations 20, 30 and 40 years after leaving the congregation. I am all the more surprised since I still have letters from some of them well into the 1970s in which they express their gratitude and our mutual friendship.
Despite the moral suffering that this has caused me I bear no ill will toward them. Rather I offer my pain and prayers for each one of them, in hope that they will recover their peace of soul and remove from their hearts whatever resentment has moved them to make these false accusations.
Yours respectfully in Christ,
Marcial Maciel, L.C.


  1. I really disagree, at least to a point. Help victims when you have the means, great, but immersing ourselves into the “victimology” alone runs a risk of weakening the vigor with which one builds the future. The scandal for me, is about remedy beyond victims of the past, it is about bringing forth truth in all of its dimensions, as a healer of past injustices to be sure, but as that which will permit others and above all the Church to build its life more solidly in the future. Those who have come to terms with the truth and want validation, and those who have yet to catch up to it who possibly through no fault of their own be standing on a foundation that is about to give way and need ground more solid than that on which they are standing.

  2. A close observer, what you just said makes no sense to me. I am sorry to sound disrespectful, but it sounds so much like just the sort of vagueness disguised as thoughtful commentary I would expect from the Legion.
    Where did Pete Vere say anything about “helping victims”? Immersing ourselves in “victimology”? How is desiring the justice of an apology for MM’s victims “victimology”?
    I would argue that the Legion cannot build a future until they deal with the deplorable mistreatment of MM’s victims. The outrage over this matter is only growing.
    It has been almost 7 months since this scandal broke. If there are people “who have yet to catch up” with the truth, that is through their own choice. The truth is the truth. It matters not if it is “through no fault of their own” any more than it would matter if it tooks someone 7 months to come to terms with an earthquake, also no fault of their own. if they want to dwell in the past, on the way it used to be, they are building on sand. And THAT situation could easily be remedied if the Legion showed some leadership to these poor loyal, dependent LC/RC souls, who refuse to see truth until the Legion TELLS them it’s the truth.
    “Dear victims. It has become clear to us that we were wrong to disbelieve you when you came forward and revealed the abuse you suffered at the hands of MM. What you endured was terrible, and we only made it worse. When we should have been consoling you as victims, we instead put all our effort into defending your abuser, and for that we are sorry. We will pray always for your healing from all you have suffered, and we are so sorry for having made your suffering worse. Please forgive us.”
    Do you think a public apology might help these poor souls “Catch up with the truth”?

  3. Thank you, Jane.
    I don’t know how anybody thinks we can build a future with any vigor whatsoever until the past has been exhumed and justice has been done.
    Observer, your vague remarks didn’t really make any sense at all to me, either. You say the scandal is about bringing forth truth, but a good part of that truth is that the Legion heaped further abuse on Maciel’s victims by maligning them and calling them enemies of the Church.
    There WILL be no moving forward or building anything at all until the Legion has admitted this truth and made an effort to restore the victims’ good names, which they destroyed.
    I don’t know what you mean about “victimology”. I don’t see any of the victims wallowing in anything whatsoever. They’ve never asked for money. What they wanted was for this deviant to be revealed for what he was so that he could not hurt any more innocent children.
    Is that too much to ask for? Is it too much to ask the Legion to acknowledge its part in this massive scam?
    You are very much mistaken if you believe that seeking justice for the abused is a form of “victimology”.

  4. I would just like to add to my anonymous friend’s comment above. She/he stated: “I don’t see any of the victims wallowing in anything whatsoever. They’ve never asked for money. What they wanted was for this deviant to be revealed for what he was so that he could not hurt any more innocent children.”
    I don’t know the victims. But I marvel that, in the past 7 months, with all the scandalous facts coming out about Maciel’s life and misdeeds, these victims have managed to stay silent. I am sure I could not have that grace. If I were in their shoes, I would have most surely come forward to any and every media source possible to cry “I TOLD you so!”.

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